PC(USA) Six Great Ends of the Church


Do you know all 6? Not to worry, we still need a cheat sheet.
This is what we did during our 2014 Lenten Series on the
Six Great Ends of the Church:


#1 The Proclamation of the Gospel for the Salvation of Humankind —
Our Sundays are Better than DQ’s

Consider how you would answer these questions:  
  • What does it mean to be “Christian”?
  • Why are you a “Christian”?
  • Are there other groups doing what Christians used to do and are Christians even relevant to today’s world? (so what makes us different?)
  • What is YOUR “Good News” message (in 7 words or less)?
See this link to Christian Century: http://www.christiancentury.org/category/keywords/whats-gospel-seven-words?page=1

#2  The Shelter, Nurture, and Spiritual Fellowship of the Children of God —
Sermon: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

We’ve built the building — now what are we building as a community of faith?
How might we take our “community of faith” out into the greater community and provide the same kind of shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship to all children of God?

 #3 The Maintenance of Divine Worship —
Sermon: Here When You Need Us

Worship is communal as it connects us to the wider community of faith — historically, spiritually, physically (as a member of particular body of Christ), and globally (wherever you are, there you are — with the familiar symbols and scriptures).  We also explored the idea of Sunday worship being a time of reorienting . . . clearing the fog of the week in order to go out into the world and “see” God . . . and to be reminded of God’s love and how we are to share that with others . . . and to never forget the central hope of the resurrection — God overcomes all, even death itself!

 #4 The Preservation of the Truth —
Sermon: Do You Believe God . . . 

ON this Sunday, congregation members were invited to share their “truth” — as in what is truth?  What truth would you ultimately defend to the end?  What truth must we pass on?  For me (the pastor), the truth is God is a God of Love, Peace, and Forgiveness; that God loves us, all of us; that we are put here for each other;  that no one, not any one, is better or more valuable that some one else; and that Jesus Christ came to show us God in living person and is always with us.  What is the truth you would defend to the end?

#5 The Promotion of Social Righteousness —
Sermon: The Humble Truth

Exploring the responses to “Truth” questions of last week and the concept of Social Holiness as essential to Social Righteousness — as one internet blogger put it, “if I claim to be Christian, I perhaps ought actually act like that around other people.  If I am loving and kind and good only in private “all by myself,” then that’s not really saying much.  But, when at last we manage to act that way around real-life, stubborn, ornery people, then we’ve begun to accomplish something.  That’s a notion worth preserving.  That’s a “social holiness” I want to hear more about. . .”  The Humble Truth is we all fall so short of really “being Christian” — but we sure are trying!  It really is all about relationships as it always was for Jesus.  I used “dancing” as the metaphor for this — is there such a thing as “Christian waltzing”?  We bump into each other, but we do learn how to move more gracefully with each other — as our social holiness increases!  (One gets wordy when listening to big music on Pandora!)


 #6 The Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world —
Sermon: God Rocks!

Especially in Matthew’s Gospel, God Rocks — and we all experience the life-quakes when God rocks our own world.  Whether it is death, tragedy, cancer (or other scary diagnoses), or even birth — we are never the same afterwards.  Recognizing Jesus Christ still wore the wounds of his crucifixion, we too proclaim our faith when we exhibit the wounds we have survived, with God’s help.  Survivors of last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon have given many examples of this, as does the project “Before I Die” walls.  It all began with one wall on a decrepit building and has grown to over 2oo walls on 6 continents in over 40 countries.  Visit beforeidie.cc for more.  Talk about resurrection!!  God rocks!  Wouldn’t you agree?

Image for 6 Great Ends comes from Stained Glass Windows from Green Hill Presbyterian Church in Enterprise, Alabama — http://greenhillpc.wordpress.com/about-green-hill/stained-glass-windows/